Asian police officer faces sack for racism charge against boss


London : The racism row between London police chief Ian Blair and his seniormost deputy of Asian origin Tarique Ghaffur has taken another turn with the former threatening to strip the officer of his command if he went ahead with his libel suit against the force.

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Blair of the Metropolitan Police (Met) is learnt to have warned Ghaffur to postpone his legal action or be removed from his post and the force. The two officers met on Thursday as part of the force’s plans to quell the race row.

The police force went into a spin recently with Ghaffur claiming that he was overlooked for promotion four times because of his race.

The Guardian reports that after Thursday’s meeting, where Blair is supposed to have issued the threat, both sides apparently decided to give negotiations another chance to end the row. The negotiations may begin within a week.

However, a failure in the talks will see Ghaffur going ahead with his court action and the police chief stripping him of his command and moving him out of the force and management board.

Sources said Ghaffur could not work with the commissioner while he lacked “trust and confidence” in Blair, and top officers felt similar distrust for Ghaffur. “It’s not sustainable.”

If Ghaffur is moved out of the Met while his legal case proceeds, he will most likely be given a role at the Association of Chief Police Officers or HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, retaining his 180,000 pound annual salary, his driver and his support staff.

Ghaffur is now assistant commissioner for central operations, in charge of firearms teams and running the Met’s input into security for the 2012 London Olympics.

His lawyers accuse the Met of negotiating in bad faith, saying that they talk of wanting to settle out of court but are sabotaging any chance of a deal.

The police department’s concern may be more than the racism issue, sources said. The dossier Ghaffur is said to have compiled also contains allegations about other issues, including the Metropolitan Police’s “cash-for-honours” investigation, and alleges Home Office authorities treated him badly.